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Cubs Shut Out Pirates In Series Rubber Match

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates struck out 14 times and wasted a quality start from Joe Musgrove, dropping the rubber match in the rain to Chicago 2-0 Thursday.

With one out in the seventh, Musgrove (1-1) got Jason Heyward to pop up to shallow left field, but Erik Gonzalez and Jung-Ho Kang collided and the ball bounced out of Gonzalez’s glove. Daniel Descalso blooped a single to left in the next at-bat to drive in the first run of the game.

Victor Caratini doubled home Descalso off Francisco Liriano later in the inning.

Musgrove finished with two runs allowed- both unearned- on five hits in 6.1 innings. He struck out a half dozen and walked a pair.

Quintana (1-1) struck out 11 in his seven innings pitched. Pedro Strop tossed a spotless ninth for his first save of the season.

5-2 Double-Play

Musgrove benefited from a bizarre double-play in the sixth to get out of a jam. With runners on second and third, Javier Baez bounced a ball to third baseman Jung-Ho Kang. Kang threw out Ben Zobrist at home, but Baez did not see the play or run to first because he believed he fouled the ball off his foot. Francisco Cervelli tagged Baez at the plate to end the inning.

Melk Man’s Glove

Musgrove also got a little help on defense from right fielder Melky Cabrera for the first out of the fourth.

On Deck

The Pirates are heading to Washington to start a three game series with the Nationals on Friday. Trevor Williams (1-0, 2.25) will face Patrick Corbin (0-0, 3.75) at 7:05 p.m..

NUMB3RS

1. Musgrove has thrown his slider 28.8% of the time so far this season (59/205). He used sliders for 18.7% of his pitches in 2018.

2. The Pirates are 5-1 this year when Josh Bell drives in a run and 1-4 when he does not.

3. Musgrove’s 1.93 FIP is the best in the NL (min. 15 innings pitched).